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The Tidy Books UK Blog

  • Will you still be reading aloud to your teenager?

    I loved reading aloud to my children when they were growing up. To curl up with a book and watch their inquisitive faces as I shared a story with them was such a joy. I’m sure you have that same warm, contented feeling when you read to your kids, too.

    I have to say that when my kids got older and started reading on their own it was both a proud and sad time. It was wonderful seeing them progress onto chapter books, relying less on me for reading duties and happily losing themselves in a book on their own. But once they had become independent readers, I knew my time as Chief Storyteller was over. Or so I thought.

    reading aloud, kids reading, tidy books, kids bookcases Reading aloud together. Photo credit @_francescasantini_  Three Little Pigs blog

    The other day I met a mum who is still reading aloud to her 13-year-old. How brilliant is that? She and her son share an interest in history and when he started reading a history book that had been recommended by his teacher he suggested his mum read it as well. So she said ‘Well maybe we could read it together.’

    You’d think that hanging out with his mum reading would be the last thing a young teen would want to do but her son thought it was a great idea. So in the evening, before his bedtime, they sit on the sofa taking it in turns to read the book out loud to one another. And they both love it.

    A few years ago, research by the children’s publisher, Scholastic, found that three-quarters of parents were reading aloud to their kids when they were aged 5 or under, but that number tailed off as kids grew older. Only 20% of the parents surveyed read to their 9-11 year olds. What’s really sad is that around one-third of those older children said they’d wanted their parents to continue reading to them.

    When your child starts growing up you assume there are some ‘uncool’ things they won’t want to do anymore. But the reality can be so different. The mum I met likens reading a book with her son to watching a TV documentary together. They can discuss the subject, ask each other questions and enjoy the experience of learning together. She really loves that they can share their curiosity about the world through their love of reading.

    She says that reading aloud together is a natural activity for the two of them and that it’s lovely spending quality time with her son – which, let’s face it, isn’t always easy to achieve with a teen! Of course not every teenager wants to read with their parents – but it might just be that yours does. You never know until you ask... so I’m going to wrestle the Xbox away from my 14-year-old and find out...

    geraldine grandidier, tidy books

     

    Geraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

  • Getting ready for school needn’t be a headache

    Did you know, as mums and dads, our stress levels go up by 30% on school mornings and don’t return to normal levels till after lunchtime? Getting the kids ready for school, complete with coats, lunches, and homework, can feel like a daily test of your sanity.

    We talked to Jen of the Dad Network, whose son Louis who has severe dyspraxia and finds getting ready for school difficult.   Jen, a teacher, developed strategies to help Louis organise himself, which will help you get your kids organised and ready for school on time.

    These are her top tips

    1.Put homework, lunch boxes and uniform in a place kids can’t miss.
    Use a notice board in the kid’s bedroom, kitchen or hall to write up what you need for the next day.  You can hang up bags, PE kit and even the school uniform The Tidy Books Forget Me Not noticeboard.  Jen called the Forget Me Not a ‘lifechanger’ because it gives kids a visual prompt.

    tidy books, kids noticeboard, getting organised, ready for school Louis is all ready for the morning with the Tidy Books Forget Me Not. Photo credit The Dad Network

    2. Decide what you want for breakfast the night before
    Choose your cereal before you go to bed. Jen lays out the table each night, ready for the morning. You’ll find breakfast is speedier without having to factor in decision making time.

    3. Label everything in one colour
    Use big name labels in your child’s favourite colour. Labels can be added to coats, PE kit and water bottles so that your child can spot their belongings at a glance.

    4. Pick a favourite colour and stick to it.
    Colour coding is a great way to organise. Buy school pens and pencils all in one colour, so your child can see their belongings instantly. Kids, particularly dyspraxic kids are very tuned into visual prompts.  Colour coding helps them scan for their favourite colour and pick out their belongings quickly.

    5. Use a see-through pencil case
    Cuts down on rummaging time.  Your child can make sure they have their favourite pencil without tipping everything out.

    6. Get into the habit of making notes
    Kids with dyspraxia can struggle to remember the simplest of instructions, and it happens to all of us from time to time.  If you’ve ever found a letter from school left forgotten in the kid's school bag, then teach them to write notes.  Try a notebook or use the whiteboard of the Forget Me Not noticeboard.

    7.Timers
    We’ve all been there; your child’s in the bathroom to brush teeth, but they’re daydreaming in front of the mirror instead.   Jen and Louis use stop clocks to time teeth brushing or minutes left till leaving the house, so everyone knows when they need to be ready for school.

    For more information on living with dyspraxia visit the Dyspraxia Foundation website
    Thanks to Jen of The Dad Network and Louis for sharing their story. This blog content is adapted from an original guest post on the The Dad Network.

    What about you? Is getting the kids to organise themselves is the key to peaceful mornings?

    The Tidy Books kids organiser, the Forget Me Not is available now in Limited Edition new colours; Dark Grey and Soft White

    kids organiser, forget me not, tidy books, school run, ready for school Tidy Books Forget Me Not Kids Organiser in Soft White

    tidy books, forgetmenot, kids organiser, school run, ready for school Tidy Books Forget Me Not in Dark Grey

    geraldine grandidier, tidy books

    Geraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

  • Time to read...

    Telling the time is so natural to most of us, that we forget kids don't have the same concept of telling time.  I was chatting to a friend the other day about her Christmas and she said her three-year-old son was so excited he’d been constantly asking when Father Christmas was coming.  Of course, being so young, her son had no concept of time so she told him it would be ‘three times when you’ve gone to school’  She wanted to help him understand that he’d have to wait for what would feel like three school days.

    I thought that was a really clever way of teaching her child about telling time. Another mum I know does a similar thing – only she breaks time down into episodes of Peppa Pig. As for helping my own children to tell the time, I remember we sat down and made a clock out of a Camembert box (well, I am French!).

    telling time, teaching time clock, book box, tidy books, tell the time clock The Tidy Books Box with teaching time clock

    Experts agree that telling the time makes better sense to children when they can relate it to their own experience – like teatime at 5 o’ clock and their 7 o’ clock bath time. And of course it’s always good to making learning fun, so they suggest things like setting a timer when you’re baking cookies or using a stopwatch to time them cleaning their teeth.

    When I was designing my Book Box, I immediately thought of adding a teaching time clock on one end. I mean, why waste space when you can use it to include something useful? I loved the idea of kids having a little portable library so they could have their favourite books around them wherever they were in the house. And if it had a colourful telling the time clock, well they could have fun playing with that, too.

    The award-winning Tidy Books box has certainly gone down well with customers – they love that it’s so compact and space-saving and can easily be moved from the living room to the kids’ bedroom. I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with it myself – and I’m not bad at making a Camembert clock either!

    What do you do to explain time to your kids?

    geraldine grandidier, tidy books

     

    Geraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

  • Children's room trends for 2018 with Houzz and Tidy Books

    Parents are taking the design of their children's room very seriously.   When Tidy Books was selected to be part of interior trends expo Houzz of 2018, it was immediately clear that parents want a space for their kids that is functional, playful and stylish.

    International interiors platform Houzz and designers Run for the Hills took over a five storey Soho townhouse to create a modern family home which showcases the trends for 2018.   The children's room featured the iconic Tidy Books Bookcase which I'd created for my daughter 15 years ago. 

    children's room, tidy books kids bookcase, kids bookshelf Tidy Books Bookcase in Houzz of 2018

    The key trends I spotted in the Houzz townhouse were tactile rugs and fabrics, retro touches; all looking luxurious.   In the children's rooms the interior design team highlighted blush pinks and illustrated wallpaper as key design trends for 2018.

    children's room, interior design, tidy books The children's room in Houzz of 2018

    Houzz discovered that  72% of parents want a children's room that's easy to clean, so simplicity and amazing storage are their top priorities.*  30% said they despaired of keeping the kid's belongings organised.  Houzz identified key purchases as bookshelves and toy boxes, such as Tidy Books' kid's bookcase and small toy storage boxes, the Sorting Box.   

    It's not just the children's rooms that parents are taking seriously.   I've observed that parents don't want to tuck all their children's belongings in their bedroom.  Houzz identified that parents are creating playrooms, homework stations and reading nooks in other areas of the home.  As a result, they're seeking out designs that work well for children and are stylish enough for adult spaces. 

    Tidy Books' timeless bookcases, shelves and toy box designs reflect this trend.  Parents want simplicity, function and style.  My original designs are conceived in real life scenarios, from being a parent or observing others’ family life.  I think that’s what makes my designs strike a chord with parents, who’re craving simple, functional designs for children.

    houzz, interior design, children's room, tidy books The Soho 5 storey townhouse - home of Houzz of 2018

    Houzz of 2018 was a fabulous event and I was excited that Tidy Books was selected.  It was a pleasure to be in the company of so many other fabulous home and interiors products and I'm looking forward to Houzz of 2019!

    *Source Houzz Kids and the Home poll 2017

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